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  A Kirkus Indie Books of the Month Selection for July.

 “Castle’s characters brim with zest and real feeling… Though the plot keeps the pages turning, the characters, major and minor, and the well-wrought historical details will make readers want to linger in the 16th century. A laugh-out loud mystery that will delight fans of the genre.” — Kirkus, starred review

Murder by Misrule is a delightful debut with characters that leap off the page, especially the brilliant if unwilling detective Francis Bacon and his street smart man Tom Clarady. Elizabeth Tudor rules, but Anna Castle triumphs.” — Karen Harper, NY Times best-selling author of The Queen’s Governess

“Well-researched… Murder by Misrule is also enormously entertaining; a mystery shot through with a series of misadventures, misunderstandings, and mendacity worthy of a Shakespearian comedy.” — M. Louisa Locke, author of the Victorian San Francisco Mystery Series.

“Historical mystery readers take note: Murder by Misrule is a wonderful example of Elizabethan times brought to life……a blend of Sherlock Holmes and history.” — D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review.


Thomas Clarady, son of a privateer, is a law student at Gray’s Inn, seeking to climb the Elizabethan social ladder by any means necessary. When his tutor is murdered during the Queen’s Day pageant, he hires Francis Bacon to replace him. Francis is requested by his uncle, the Lord Treasurer, to investigate the murder. Eager to curry favor with his powerful relation, he agrees, even though he rarely leaves his chambers and mislikes anything that takes time away from reading. Far better to send Tom out to find the clues and talk to the witnesses.

At first, Francis suspects Catholic conspirators murdered the lawyer to keep him from exposing their plot, but other motives quickly emerge. Renowned beauty Lady Penelope Rich fears the scandal of being dragged into court. High-tempered Sir Avery Fogg will stop at nothing to achieve a judgeship. Other barristers contend hotly for the murdered man’s legal honors, fine chambers, and wealthy clients.

Francis and Tom embark on an investigation that reaches from Whitehall to the London streets. Francis does the thinking; Tom does the fencing. Barristers fall down stairs – or are they pushed? Tom falls in love with a key witness and then can’t find her anywhere. Everyone has something up his pinked and padded sleeve. Even the brilliant Francis Bacon is at a loss – and in danger – until he sees through the disguises of the season of Misrule.


This series of historical mysteries features the philosopher-statesman Francis Bacon as a sleuth and spymaster. Like his spiritual descendent Nero Wolfe, Francis prefers the comfort of his chambers, so he sends his pupil, privateer’s son Thomas Clarady, out to gather information. Tom loves the work. He meets all manner of interesting people, like Sir Walter Raleigh and Christopher Marlowe, not to mention the beauteous women who pop up wherever he goes.

 

Cover design by Jennifer Quinlan at Historical Editorial